What’s new in the ILO Committee of Experts’ latest report

International labour standards in times of economic crisis. This is one of the main issues of the 2010 ILO Committee of Experts’ Report on the application of Conventions and Recommendations. From the need to promote and extend collective bargaining to the protection of wages, the Committee focuses on the Conventions that can help governments to overcome the crisis, reduce poverty and inequity, increase demand and contribute to economic stability. Like every year, in the Report there is a detailed analysis of member states’ compliance with labour standards. Search for your country and find out the Experts’ observations and requests.

“In such times of economic crisis as the present, it is vitally important that a culture of social dialogue be established, and in particular that collective bargaining be promoted as a useful mechanism for engaging in dialogue to effectively address the issue of economic recovery” write the Experts.

In particular, in its 60th anniversary year, the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention has become more relevant than ever to the growing needs of the labour market in a globalized environment. The Committee thus affirms the importance of the development, to the widest degree possible, of collective agreements and the importance of the establishment of effective mechanisms for ensuring adequate protection of workers against acts of anti-union discrimination.

Also, the current global economic crisis has impacted severely on the wage income of millions of workers around the world. It has led to job losses while also exerting downward pressure on real wages, which have fallen in the first quarter of 2009 in more than half of the 35 countries for which data are available and the situation is likely to get worse. The Committee emphasizes that wage protection takes on particular importance in times of crisis and therefore relevant standards should not be undermined but rather put at the centre of crisis responses, as is underlined in the ILO 2009 Global Jobs Pact. Indeed, this will support recovery and help put the economy on a sustainable track.

Analysis of member states and list of cases
Like every year, in the Report the Commitee analyses many member states’ compliance with ILO Conventions. Moreover, there are lists of cases in which the need for technical assistance has been highlighted but also a list of cases in which the Committee has been able to express its satisfaction at certain measures taken by the governments.

The combination of the work of the supervisory bodies and the practical guidance given to member States through technical cooperation and assistance has always been one of the key dimensions of the ILO supervisory system. The aim of this strengthened combination is to provide an effective framework to member States for full compliance with their standards-related obligations, including the implementation of the Conventions which they have ratified.

Examples:
Europe: Belarus and Bulgaria for Convention 98
Middle East: Lebanon for Conventions 100, 111, 136, 138, 174, 182
Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo for Conventions 117, 144, 158 and Lesotho for C.138, 182
Asia: Malaysia for Conventions 138, 182 and Indonesia for C. 87, 98, 144
Americas: Bolivia for Conventions 1, 30, 87, 102 and Paraguay for C. 26, 87, 98, 115,119, 120

On the other hand, there are cases in which, following comments that the Committee has made on a specific issue, governments have taken measures through either the adoption of new legislation, an amendment to the existing legislation or a significant change in the national policy or practice, thus achieving fuller compliance with their obligations under the respective Conventions. In expressing its satisfaction, the Committee indicates to governments and the social partners that it considers the specific matter resolved.

Examples:
Europe: Denmark for Conventions 87, 129 and Greece for C. 29, 81, 147, 180
Middle East: Syrian Arab Republic for Convention 139 and United Arab Emirates for C. 182
Africa: Tanzania for Conventions 105, 182 and Mauritius for C. 26, 105, 138
Asia: Japan for Convention 14 and Hong Kong for C.81
Americas: Brazil for Conventions 115, 152 and El Salvador for C. 87 and 151

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